The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to make necessary appointments to fill all existing vacant posts in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) within 90 days as required by law.
Censuring the delay, a bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the Ministry of Women and Child Development that the posts must be filled at the earliest as the NCPCR is “a critical institution” where “child rights are involved.”
The court has also asked the ministry to look into the appointment of the next NCPCR Chairperson, as the current occupant is expect to finish their tenure in September this year.
The judges highlighted that it was seven years since one of the members had left his post, and noted as a statutory body, NCPCR handled important aspects in relation to children’s issues.
The bench also pointed out that in an earlier order the Supreme Court had directed that the NCPCR was to be made fully functional, and observed that the statute is clear on requiring the vacancies to be filled within ninety days .
PIL Claims Vacancies Frustrate Justice
The HC order was passed while hearing a PIL filed by a lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy which sought for improved administration of the panel to ensure proper safeguarding of the interests of the children .
A statutory mandate included in the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005, states that the panel must consist of six members along with a chairperson. Currently the child rights panel has just three members.
The PIL had highlighted that fresh appointments need to be done within 90 days of vacancy and also that Chairperson Stuti Narain Kacker is likely to be demitting her office in September .
According to the petitioner, the non-appointment of various commission members disrupted the system for ensuring justice and also resulted in an increase of pendency of cases relating to child rights.
Established in 2007, the NCPCR is the main body responsible for ensuring implementation of various child rights like the right to food, protection from sexual offences and free and compulsory education.